|My daily grape harvest in Colorado|
WHAT GRAPES WANT AND NEED
1. SUPPORT - a trellis, arbor or fence
2. SUNSHINE - and lots of it
3. LOW HUMIDITY - breezes and winds
4. WELL DRAINED SOIL - not soggy
5. LONG GROWING SEASON
WHAT COLORADO HAS
1. FOLKS who can build SUPPORT
2. SUNSHINE - 300+ days
3. LOW HUMIDITY- breezes and winds
4. HIGH DESERT PLAINS SOIL - often dry5. LONG WINTER - well no one is perfect
Every few days I receive an email feed from one of my favorite blogs, French Word-A-Day. Immediately I am transported to another place – to Provence, on a vineyard no less, and the farm of beautiful Kristin Espinasse and her husband, “Chief Grape.” On her site the “About Kristin” link shares this history:
1990. Aix-en-Provence. While on a language exchange program from Arizona State University, I was
dancing the night awaywholly devoted to study when I met my future (French) husband. Not two years later, I packed three cardboard U-Haul boxes and said adieu to the Phoenix desert.
Her blog is a lovely blend of fairy tale and daily toil, of growing grapes and raising children. Her exquisite regional photos say a thousand words, and I look forward to each and every post. There is a certain comfort in reading about Kristin’s weekly life in the French country and comparing and contrasting it with my own in Colorado country.
This week, like me, Kristin and Chief Grape are engaged in la vendange or the grape harvest. Their harvest will be lovingly made into award winning fine wine (See: http://www.vosselections.com/Domains/1364.html) and mine will be eaten raw with some cheese (Brie or Gouda). They have hundreds (thousands?) of grape plants and I have only two. I cannot tell you my exact grape variety (Vitus ?) because I lost the plant tags. Both are a white grape - one is seedless and one has seeds. However, they are awesome producers of fruit and shade.
|A mid-summer's grape shade|
WHAT GRAPES GIVE1. VITAMIN A, B, C and 13 MINERALS2. ANTIOXIDANTS & PHYTOCHEMICALS3. RAISINS - love 'em4. GRAPE SEED OIL (Vitamin E)5. WINE (need I say more?) and VINEGAR
|The Arbor: A support system for grapes|
Yes Dorothy - you really can grow grapes in Colorado! OK maybe not the varieties that do well in France, California and Oregon, but there are many successful wine growers on the Western Slope. On the Front Range you can grow several varieties of table grapes that survive and thrive in our crazy climate. You can eat them off the vine or make jams, jellies and juice. Your local nursery can help you find the right variety - right after you find someone to build a support system for your plants. God knows we all need a support system.
Allen, Jacqi. "Growing Grapes on the Front Range." Colorado State University Extension. Colorado State University Extension, 10 Oct 2009. Web. 22 Sep 2011. <http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/columngw/gr091010.html>.
"Colorado Wine 2011." Colorado Wine. Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, 2011. Web. 22 Sep 2011. <http://www.coloradowine.com/>.
"Grapes." Plantalk Colorado. Colorado State University Extension, Denver Botanic Gardens, and Green Industries of Colorado, Inc., 22 Oct 2010. Web. 22 Sep 2011. <http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1203.html>.
"Great Grapes." Front Range Food Gardener. Colorado State University Extension, 05 Feb 2009. Web. 22 Sep 2011. <http://frontrangefoodgardener.blogspot.com/2009/02/great-grapes.html>.
Hamman, Richard A. et al. "Colorado Grape Growers Guide- Bulletin 550A." Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. Colorado State University, 1998. Web. 22 Sep 2011. <http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/550a.pdf>.